Thursday, September 08, 2011

Important Year

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Blake Barker

So much for Barker

One of the most highly-touted Ivy League football recruits in years has left the Harvard football team.

TE Blake Barker made big news last year when he decommitted from Stanford and decided to join the Crimson.

Now he's off the Crimson roster too.

I'm not sure if Barker is still a student at Harvard, but I would assume he's still a student there.

Fordham Phenom

The freshman running back who became a last-minute admit a few months ago when his eligibility credentials were re-examined, is no longer a running back.

Vaughn Scott is still listed as a running back on the Fordham roster, but he has been playing in the secondary and even had a pass breakup against UConn on Saturday.

That eases my fears somewhat that Scott will suddenly take to the Ram backfield and shred the Lions defense much like last-second admit Xavier Martin did in 2007.

BUT... Fordham Head Coach Tom Masella is a crafty guy and I wouldn't put it past him to feature the multi-talented Scott as a running back at some time in the near future, starting with the Columbia game on Sept. 17th!

I'm also not convinced freshman QB Peter Maetzold will be the guy under center for most or even any of the game against our Lions in nine days.

It's not that Maetzold performed badly against the much bigger and faster Huskies last weekend, it's just that Masella is famous for using drastically different lineups and gameplans for different opponents.

Norries Wilson (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

Sixth Try's the Charm?

Much has been made that this is the sixth year at the helm for Columbia Head Coach Norries Wilson... and rightfully so.

But it was the sixth year of former Head Coach Ray Tellier's tenure that was truly his breakthrough year.

That was the 1994 season when the Lions posted a winning season after 22 straight years of losing records.

'94 was the year that Marcellus Wiley made his first real impact as a defensive lineman after coming to Columbia as a lean running back in 1992.

It was also the year QB Mike Cavanaugh, a speedy and smart runner, shredded opponents week after week after coming to Columbia as a wide receiver also in 1992.

'94 was preceded by a very disappointing 1993 campaign where the Lions were 2-8 and failed to cash in on the promise of a 1992 season where Columbia shocked the world with two straight wins to end the season.

There are some parrallels to this season.

For the most part, Columbia disappointed last season after winning its last two games of 2009 and introducting the world to the talents of QB Sean Brackett.

Brackett and many other players had great seasons in 2010, but the team went from a competitive 3-4 in the Ivies to a subpar 2-5. They went from 4th in 2009 to 6th in 2010.

But unlike Cavanaugh in 1994, no one is unaware of Brackett and his talents as a runner and passer. Columbia won't be able to sneek up on anyone in the QB department.

There is some shifting on defense, but not as dramatic as moving Wiley from RB to DE.

The biggest moves are putting Josh Martin and Ryan Murphy back into the 4-3 as true linebackers who will focus on menacing the line of scrimmage.

Incidentally, I saw a documentary last night about Buddy Ryan and the 46 Defense and I have to say that if it works properly, the Columbia defense this season could resemble that 46 alignment that made so many NFL quarterbacks cry.

Much of the chances of that rest on the shoulder pads of MLB Nick Mistretta who will be in the Mike Singletary role of calling the defensive plays and making the adjustments before the snap.

I also think there has to be some other set of surprises we'll see in the Columbia lineup or strategy this season.

How else can you explain the VERY quiet preseason as far as official articles about training camp and previews for the season on the website?

It seems like the coaches are keeping things even closer to the vest this summer.

Preseason Preview on the Way!

Speaking of keeping things quiet, I will finally release my predictions for the 2011 Ivy League Football season this coming Monday.

Top 100 Moments of 2010

#9: Legging it Out

After the Lions trimmed Cornell's lead to 17-10, the Columbia defense produced a quick three-and-out after the Big Red surprisingly decided to pass on all three downs and all three passes fell incomplete.

After the ensuing punt, the Lions were in business at their own 43. But QB Sean Brackett was not really able to pass because of an injury.

Luckily, his legs were still good.

Brackett ran the ball for each of the first three plays of the drive, netting a total of 35 yards.

Brackett let Nick Gerst and Nathan Lenz carry the ball on the next three plays and Columbia got as close as the Big Red two yard line before it had to settle for a short field goal to make it 17-13 with about 11 minutes left.


At Fri Sep 09, 02:15:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Barker kid didn't really want to play football that badly. Good news for Columbia.

At Fri Sep 09, 04:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do we now know who is running in the two deep? Also, are we concerned that we will not be scrimmaging anybody before the first game?

At Fri Sep 09, 04:20:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

In short, we don't know squat. It's been VERY VERY quiet this year. I have no idea why and I will let everyone else ponder whether this incredible silence is a good or a bad sign for the season.

At Fri Sep 09, 10:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that the Dartmouth-Harvard scrimmage is closed to the public ...

Frank F '70C

At Fri Sep 09, 06:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things will continue to be "VERY VERY quiet"

I think for this team that is a very good thing.

Not scrimmaging this year probably won't hurt us. It will keep Fordham wondering which is also a good thing.

At Fri Sep 09, 06:39:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Well, I have really HATED the bad buzz Columbia has endured every year since 2007 after the preseason scrimmages against Harvard and Brown. Eliminating that this year does not bother me.

At Fri Sep 09, 09:48:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Packers hardly practiced during lock-out and absolutely smoked the Saints (in the first half at least) despite the Saints famously having such organized OTAs run by Drew Brees. I don't think I'd put too much into preseason stuff. At the end of the day you've got to be ready to line em up and compete when the lights come on.

At Fri Sep 09, 10:05:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous SmartGuy said...

Anyone have any updates on the Campbell complex at Baker Field? I am pretty sure they got the final go ahead some time ago. Any construction updates? Also, do we know yet what exactly the new building will hold and how that will benefit the football team and other programs that call Baker Field home?

At Fri Sep 09, 11:15:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to the scrimmage on Sunday and can tell you now that "construction has begun" ... but it's a mess .... right now, there is no access to the upper fields/Lot B Parking from 218th St. since the entrance is blocked off ... it would be nice to see weekly pictures of the site so we could see progress ...

At Sat Sep 10, 01:56:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To previous about the Sunday scrimmage, anything to report?

At Sat Sep 10, 03:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there were only a few parents at the scrimmage and very few others .... the offense generally seemed to be dominated by the defense ... but ... Gerst and Garrett were held out of the scrimmage ... Brackett threw pretty well .... freshman who stood out were Alex Fischer and Connor Nelligan .... Fischer had a nice run and looks very fast, Nelligan made an outstanding diving catch ... Childress appears to be the starting middle guard, and I think moving Martin to OLB will be a very good move ....

Frank F '70C

At Sun Sep 11, 04:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the scrimmage report...that's interesting about Childress starting at nose tackle, he must be pretty good to have moved ahead of Groth and Fraser, unless they're injured. Good news also about Alec (not Alex) Fisher (not Fischer), who didn't look all that fast in his high school tapes (caught from behind a couple of times), but did look like he knows where to run to gain yards (he must be doing something right to have been voted California State Player of the Year in his division.


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